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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20171008 THE SPIRIT OF OFFENSE

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Senior Pastor Phil Roland

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Pastor Ray Scott

 

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THE SPIRIT OF OFFENSE
SERMON STARTER
Joke: A certain church lady who was known to be aggressive, especially with newcomers who didn't understand her. The elders of his church asked him to confront her about toning down her sharp tongue. The pastor groaned because he knew the confrontation would be ugly. He prayed for how to do it and got an answer. On the next Sunday morning he wore the most offensive tie in his wardrobe, and put a sharp pair of scissors into his jacket pocket. Sure enough the lady confronted him loudly,
          "Pastor Your tie offends me!"
The pastor stretched out the offending tie, and carefully cut it off. He then handed her his pair of scissors, handle-first.
          "Here! You tongue offends me!"
          There is no Biblical reference to the term, The Spirit of Offense. Yet the Bible abounds in wisdom about who the offendees are and how to deal with them.  There are the political offendees who cannot tolerate civil discussion of all the sides of an issue of conflict. I call them snowflakes. They melt quickly in the strong light of reason.
          The perceived professional victims are everywhere. They are quick to shout out about both real and imagined injustices. The offendees surround themselves with fake news lies about their imagined opponents. They create new ways to react to perceived injustices. Those harboring the Spirit of Offense have not been trained to think. They've only been trained to memorize scripted phrases and parrot them back to you.
(Politically Correct language)
          The too-easily offended exist in churches as well. As church leaders we see them playing the victim / perpetrator game. These are brooding people, harboring grudges, nursing negative feelings and generally terrified of a adult world they don't understand. My sermon this morning Biblically explores the Spirit of Offense and what to do about it.

Pastor Phil   <><<
October 8, 2017 - Sheepfold Ministries
Pastor Phil Roland   <><<

THE SPIRIT OF OFFENSE
MATTHEW 24:3-14; esp. 10-13 - ROMANS 14:1-23

"Our culture is filled with chip-on-the-shoulder offended people. Lawsuits abound filling our courts with perceived offenses. The offended ones were ripped off, offended or injured in some way. Strife abounds where the Spirit of Offense is strong."                                                               Pastor Phil  <><<

OFFENDED - skan-dal-id'-zo - skandalizō = Stumbling Block

10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Matthew 24:10

1 Then He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!   Luke 17:1

The Spirit of Offense Occurs with. . .
I. THOSE WITH DIFFERING POLITICAL VIEWS
          A. This nation was founded on toleration of those w/differing views
                    1. Centuries old dispute between John Adams the Federalist
                    2. The Libertarian Thomas Jefferson was a Individualist
                    3. Feud continued on after their deaths
                    4. John Adams is called a centralist, Democrat today
                    5. Thomas Jefferson is called a Free Enterprise Republican
          B. The feud between the two parties has become nasty today
                    1. Mud-Slinging, vilifying, awful-izing their opponents
                    2. Two centuries later the differing views of the two ancestors
                    3. Worse by the day with Fake News, Lying Misrepresentations
          C. Man-Made political systems are destined to fail - Rev. 11:15
                    15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven,             saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our             Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
                    1. Anything man-made will fail
                    2. Concrete and steel will crumble and rust
                    3. Man-Made Dams will one day breached
                    4. Only God Kingdom will endure

The Spirit of Offense Occurs with. . .
II. THOSE WITH DIFFERING CULTURAL VIEWS
Zenophobia - Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign, people from other countries, cultures and customs

          A. We have become a zenophobic nation
                    1. In 1840's Irish immigrants came to the U.S. to work on the                           Erie Canal and were despised
THE SPIRIT OF OFFENSE, cont. p.2                

                    2.After World War 1 we feared German immigrants, "Krouts"
                    3. During / After WWII we feared "Japs"
                    4. Most recently, there are problems w/Arab / Muslims
                    5. Remembering 9/11,  Jihadi Terrorism, Islamic Extremism
                    6. Vilifying terms: "Towel Heads," "Camel Jockie," "Rag Head"
          B. An identifying sign of the End Times is the increase of Offense
          10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one
               another.    Matthew 24:10
                       
1. The skandelon continues
                    2. Everyone is perceived as an enemy
                    3. The mentally ill shooter of Las Vegas or Sandy Hook
                    4. The Charleston Church Shooting
                    5. The San Bernardino Shooting
          C. In heaven there will be NO CULTURAL differences - Rev. 7:9-10                9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one
            could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before
            the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm
            branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying,
            "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"    

The Spirit of Offense Occurs with. . .
III. THOSE WITH DIFFERING RELIGIOUS VIEWS - Romans 14:10
10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

          A. Religion is the method and process by which I worship God
                    1. Religion is any physical attempt I make to feel closer to God
                    2. Religion is concerned with form, ritual and method
          B. The church has become a place of offense
                    1. Protestants vs. Catholics
                    2. Evangelicals vs. Protestants
                    3. Pentecostals vs. Catholics, Protestants and Evangelicals
          C. The Clergy has offended the Laity
                    1. Fallen Pastoral Leaders
                    2.Fallen Lay Leaders

The Spirit of Offense Occurs with. . .
IV. THOSE WITH THOSE WHO CHOOSE NOT TO OBEY CHRIST
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.         Matthew 5:23-25

          A. Forgiveness is a Divine Command, not a Divine Suggestion
                    1. Jesus said we are His friends if we do what he Commands
THE SPIRIT OF OFFENSE, cont. p.3                

            2. He commanded us to love our enemies - Matt. 5:44
                                        44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do
                          good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use
                          you and persecute you,
          B. Only the immature in Christ will disobey him - 1 Cor. 13:11
            11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought

             as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
                    1. We are to walk in love as much as possible
                    2. We are to reconcile quickly where there are disagreements

The Spirit of Offense Occurs with. . .
V. THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER GIVEN THEIR LIVES TO JESUS
Romans 9:33
33 As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
          A. Jesus is the Cornerstone that holds the building together
                    1. Unbelievers abound in the church
                    2. Doubters have no effective faith in God
                    3. Scorners cannot receive a rebuke - Prov. 9:7,8
                                        7 "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who
                          rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. 8 Do not correct a
                          scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
          B. All of these faithless unbelievers are the Offended Ones
                    1. They stumble over Jesus, His Cross and His Promises
                    2. They need by call on His name to be saved
                    3. Their Rock of Offense can become their Rock of Salvation
                    4. What about you? Are you offended?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SPIRIT OF OFFENSE
Matthew 24:3-14 (NKJV)
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

 

 

 

The Spirit of Offense
Closing Illustration
The African way to trap a monkey. They simply place a sweetened stick inside a cage. The monkey reaches through between the narrow bars and grabs the stick. Now he is not able to pull his hand back through the bars while holding the stick. Refusing to let go of the stick, the monkey keeps himself captive and is easily captured.
As we hear this story we want to shout, “Drop the stick!” While this sounds unbelievable, many people refusing to drop an offense are keeping themselves in captivity and subject to the enemy’s entrapment just because they won’t, “Drop the stick!!!”

 

Romans 14:1-23 (NKJV)
1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God."
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.
16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

 

WEAKER BROTHER TYRANTS
ROMANS 14

Christian Film, "Betrayed"
They are called "clergy killers" -- congregations where a small group of members are so disruptive that no pastor is able to maintain spiritual leadership for long.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/silent-clergy-killers-tox_b_1437857.html

Romans 14:1-23 (NKJV)
1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God."
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.
16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

 

The Fear of Man
The Unreasoning Curse of Suspiciousness
         God's Word says, "The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe." Prov. 29:15  The kind of person this paper refers to has a "chip on their shoulder;" and are convinced that others are "out to get them."  They are constantly looking for and interpreting threats.  When we approach them about their unreasoning fears, they turn on us and see us as a part of them who are "against them."  Their suspiciousness will cause their conversations to be full of terminology like: "them. . ."; "they. . ."; or, "people are talking. .".
            They are incapable of real, genuine intimacy.  To your face they will have words "smooth as butter," but behind your back, they will cut you down.  Information is very valuable to them.  They use it to obtain the illusion (delusion) of power and/or control.  Mental health workers in the region will tell you that we have a greater than average number of people with this way of looking at and perceiving the world.
            Understand that people with these traits are medically called paranoids.  We are not interested in labeling, and name-calling.  Our interest here is to have what Solomon called an "understanding heart."  Paranoia is a mental-health (DSM IV) term and occurs in two states.  In one state it is an extension of deep psychiatric problems that have terrible, on-going symptoms.  In the other state, it is often mis-diagnosed, and subsequently never treated.  If a person's character is mis-formed as a result of poor postnatal care, then the person will have a paranoia-type way of looking at the world.  I am listing below some of the traits, which constitute the curse of paranoia (suspiciousness):

1.  AUTHORITY - Paranoids gravitate toward positions involving perceived power and authority.  They are authority obsessed.  They have been described as "authoritarian/anti-authoritarian."  The will instinctively attack anyone whom they perceive to be an authority figure.  Ministry people are very threatening to paranoids.  The higher the perceived power in the pastor the more vociferously they will attack him.
2.  TRUST - The "fear of man people" have trouble trusting others.  The love and friendship that that happen with peer (intimate/close) relationships is impossible for them.  They will approach you from a "top dog" [They feel good about this!] / "under dog" [They feel bad about this!] perspective.  They cannot approach you as an equal.
3. COMPULSIVE - Paranoids are neat and orderly.  To be less that organized and orderly would invite criticism, which they cannot handle.  They do everything well, but they overdo orderliness.  Others are compared against their high standards.

THE FEAR OF MAN, cont. p.2
4.  NO SELF-DISCLOSURE - Those with the curse of suspiciousness cannot reveal anything about themselves.  They are too afraid you will use it against them.  Personal information equals power in their minds.  All exchanges with people are interpreted on a power and control basis.

5.  UP TIGHT - Constant wariness keeps them vigilant, apprehensive.  They cannot relax, take criticism or laugh at themselves.  They take themselves seriously; too seriously.

6.  GATHER TROOPS - Those with the fear of man have few friendships.  When they take a friend, it is usually someone who sees the world through the same lens of fear through which they look.  Generally, these friendships are subordinate from a power point of view.  They will often swing from one ally to another, because over a period of time their conviction that others cannot be trusted, will be acted out by others.

7.  R E B U K E - They cannot take rebuke or criticism.  You have the problem, not they.  In a confrontation they will "get in your face," and sometimes get physical.  They have characteristically poor impulse control.

8.  PERFECTIONISTIC - This is a natural follow-up to the other traits.  Paranoids will even see God as perfectionistic.  They set high standards for themselves and others.  They are always comparing themselves with others (This is warned about in the commandment against covetousness!).  When comparing themselves with others,, they will either see themselves as "top-dog", or "under-dog." 

9.  PERFORMANCE ORIENTED - The fear of man persons will feel that God's acceptance is on the basis of works.  They take very literally the apostle Paul's command to "work out your own salvation." (Phil 2:12)
They become "human doings," rather than "human beings."

10. NOT WELL - All of these people described above are torn by fear, anger and depression.  They have a chronic problem with depression.

11. ALL ARE EXTRINSIC - They are "letter of the law" people.  They are excellent at "proof-texting" scripture, but poor in applying the "spirit of the law."

12. OVER-STRICT/UNDER-STRICT CONSCIENCES - What their consciences will and will not allow them to do is arbitrary.  Positions on issues are chosen arbitrarily by whim and caprice.
THE FEAR OF MAN, cont. p.3
13. POOR LEADERSHIP MATERIAL - Paranoids make poor leaders.  Any  position you give them will be interpreted from a power perspective and abused.  They ultimately destroy the job they are asked to do, especially if the job involves getting close to and cooperating with others.

 

BIBLICAL  CONCEPTS:

Romans 14

SUMMARY STATEMENTS:

1.  A C C E P T - Accept and love one another on the basis that Christ has accepted and loved us all.  He has commanded us to love one another.

2.  JUDGING - Do not judge.  God alone is the final judge.  Judgment implies being judge, jury and executioner of someone.  That is not for us, it is God's job.  Instead, let us use the gift of discernment to understand and know one another.

3.  OFFENCES - See that you do not deliberately offend a "weaker brother."  And see that none of you become "weaker brother" tyrants, either!

4.  PERSPECTIVE - Get a Kingdom of God perspective about these conflicts.  See vs. 17, "For the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. . .'"

5.  PRIVACY - Keep to yourself what your conscience does or does not allow.  (See vs. 22)

6.  CONSCIENCE - Do not destroy the work of God's Kingdom over a matter of individual conscience.
Courtesy of Sheepfold Ministries
Pastoral Counselor Rev. Phil Roland, 724-981-5683

 

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